We ended up in Rochester, NY, via Nashville, TN.
On our trip last year, Hoff and I visited Nashville. We arrived in town, dropped our bags and jumped in a cab to go to the meeting point for our ‘Nash Trash’ tour.
“Wow, that tour’s supposed to be fantastic,” our cab driver said. “You need to book tickets months in advance.”
I looked at him blankly. “Is there any other way to plan holiday activities?”
On the tour, only one other couple and us appeared to be under the age of fifty. As such, the four of us were quite the targets for our hosts, Sheri Lynn and Brenda Kay.
Particularly the boys, the horny old cougars.
The other couple was Bryan and Julie, from Rochester, NY, and we chatted during a tour stop. They were (and still are) driving their RV around the US and Canada (www.cruisinwiththecareys.com) and they were kind enough to give us their contact details.
So when we decided to drive from NYC to Niagara Falls this year with the kids, I reached out to see if they had any advice, and they enthusiastically recommended their hometown for a visit.
Rochester is not a place I knew much about – only that the founder of the Latter Day Saints, Joseph Smith, – and indeed the church itself – were born there.
(I’m not a religious scholar, by the way, I’m a musical theatre fan. If you’ve seen The Book of Mormon then you know what I mean. And if you haven’t, I’ll ask you again, what are you doing with your life?)
So, as we needed a stop to keep our driving time to kid-friendly maximums, we thought we’d give it a go.
And we’re so glad we did.
What a picturesque, friendly, unassuming place.
We had a beautiful dinner that involved actual real-life vegetables.
We walked tree-lined streets with leaves of shades of orange and red that I didn’t even know existed outside a 72 set of Derwents.
We saw beautifully preserved historical buildings.
We went to the The Strong Museum of Play and visited the Toy Hall of Fame.
We had breakfast at a dedicated cereal and comic book shop, and had an exchange with Malcolm, who worked there, that went like this:
Me: Can I try the Reeses Puffs please?
Malcolm: What do you mean ‘try’? You’ve never had them before?
Me: No, we don’t have most of these cereals back home. Also, I’m 36.
Malcolm: (Incredulous) I mean… I know you guys were a prison colony once, but I thought those days had passed?
You know those Instragram posts with exposed bricks and aesthetically pleasing coffee cup stains which spout earnest #inspo like, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”?
I hate those.
But I hate them even more when they’re right.
Rochester was never meant to be a destination, more so a necessary stopover on our journey to Niagara Falls.
But it was such a beautiful antidote to the mild stress of fighting the tourist masses to catch that elusive glimpse of something a little higher profile, that we left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and also pretty darn chuffed that we’d given it a go.